Skip to main content

Taking Up Our Crosses


 
                Crosses are crosses.  They can be pretty when they are made of diamonds or even cut glass.  We like to wear them on our bodies, decorate our walls with them and consider the great price Jesus paid for our salvation with the cross. 

                Jesus told us crosses are to be taken up, not just admired or made into beautiful pieces of art.  In Luke 9:23 He specifies what we are to do with crosses:  Then he said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  Crosses are for taking up.

                You don’t get to choose the cross that Jesus asks you to take up.  There are no malls for shopping for a favorite or best-fitting cross.  The cross is different for each of us.  It can be depression, difficult marriage, infertility, cancer, rebellious children, and financial ruin—the list is endless. Though the crosses vary, the instructions for any who wish to follow Christ and be His disciple are the same—we are told to take up the cross God presents to us.

                Taking up our cross is actually acceptance.  We do not take up the cross until we move beyond our hatred of the cross, rejection, opposing, blaming, avoiding, and pitying ourselves.  Until we take up our cross through acceptance, we will not find the peace that passes understanding.

                Jesus doesn’t tell us to love our cross or repress the fact that it is painful and hard to carry.  He knows taking up our cross is unnatural and requires supernatural spiritual strength to accomplish.  In fact before you are even able to take up your cross, it is mandatory that you deny yourself. 

                You must deny your natural instincts to defend, protect and rely on what you can see.  Crosses are scary, uncharted, and dangerous.  They cause you to defend yourself in a supernatural way.  You defend yourself by acceptance, believing that you are not alone, and hope that God can redeem the world through the cross you bear.

                It’s actually a three step process.

1.       Deny self

2.       Take up your cross

3.       Follow Jesus

 

The path to taking up your cross begins with denying yourself—you have to do that because crosses come in God-sized problems and are impossible to take up without surrendering your faith to Christ.  Sometimes a cross seems forced upon you, but you have a choice to take it up through acceptance or to fight it off though self-reliance.  I don’t recommend the latter because when you take up your cross through acceptance, you experience the joy of being united with Christ by following His actions.  He didn’t find His cross bearable without acceptance of God’s goodness through the horror and humiliation of the cross.  Aren’t you glad He took up His cross?  I wonder what God’s purposes are through the cross He is asking you to take up.

 

Copyright © 2014.  Deborah R. Newman teatimeforyousoul.com  All Rights Reserved.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thank You Dad

Recently I have been contemplating why it is ingrained in me that I must be quiet and respectful and look at the flag when the national anthem is played.  It’s as natural for me as standing for the Hallelujah Chorus during Handel’s Messiah or for the Bride when she walks through the back door.  Like a Pavlov dog, my instincts go into action, and I do not even think about my somewhat conditioned response. Why?  It was definitely my own father who had the most influence over me regarding the national anthem.  I am not a sports enthusiast.  However, from a young age I found myself at sports games because my older brother played every sport offered.  Our family faithfully attended those games, which normally started with the national anthem.  I found a way to enjoy the otherwise agonizing experience of being held prisoner to my brother’s sporting events by gravitating to my friends who were there under duress as well.  We made up games of our own; we would laugh and talk throughout the q…

You Shall Not Be Overcome

I distinctly remember sending this quote by Julian of Norwich to a recently widowed friend of mine over ten years ago.  You will not be overcome.
God did not say you will not be troubled,
You will not be belaboured,
You will not be disquieted;
But God said, You will not be overcome.
The quote in one of my devotional books for July 23, which marks the day I became a widow myself is by the same author.  “One day God spoke to me and I heard these words, “you won’t be overcome.”  God wants us to pay attention to His words.  God wants us to be strong in our certainty in Him, always, both in good times and in bad.  The Lord loves us, and God so enjoys our company.  God loves being with us and wants us to love Him and enjoy being with Him and trust Him completely, and all will be well.”  As I write this six years since his death I can attest to the reality that all will be well.  God chose to bless me with a second marriage to a wonderful man who holds my hand through this hur…

The Worst

What is the worst thing you think could happen to you?  There are so many options in a fallen world that it is hard to consider the worst.  We try not to think about it.  We do think we are going through the worst thing when we lose a loved one, are betrayed by a friend or family, sent to prison, or become the victim of a crime.  You know the worst thing that has happened to you.  You can think of someone for whom you are grateful that what happened to that person didn’t happen to you.               The world is full of frightening and dreaded options of worst case scenarios.  When you read the Bible, it is not hard to decide what the worst thing that could happen in your lifetime would be.  The Bible makes it clear that the worst is that you do not believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, and be saved.               That sounds like a Sunday School answer doesn’t it?  It doesn’t feel that bad to say “No Thank You” to God.  Many don’t even recognize the day that they to…